Buying Chrome computers

by Ed Sawicki

Buying Chrome computers

Buying a Chromebook is easy. You just need to decide which one. You can purchase a Chromebook from brick-and-mortar retail stores, but their selection tends to be sparse and salespeople who are more familiar with Windows and Macs may not be knowledgeable about them. You can buy on-line and get exactly what you want.

It may be a little more difficult to know what to buy if you want a Chrome desktop computer. Here I'll give you examples of what to buy for various scenarios. I'm keeping the prices low. In all cases, you can substitute a more expensive Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. See the warning about wireless keyboards and mice at the bottom of this page.

I'll be using Amazon online shopping for my examples. I'm an Amazon Prime member so I get free shipping. You may have to pay a little more.

Scenario 1: Chromebook

Here are examples of Chromebooks with links to their Amazon pages.

Scenario 2: Google Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook was introduced in October 2017. It's one of the most expensive Chrome computer to date, at $749.

You can get more information about the Pixelbook from Google's website. Click the Pixelbook photo to go to Amazon's page.

Scenario 3: Chromebox

In this scenario, you simply want to buy a complete Chrome desktop computer. I'll base this on a Chromebox, so the computer and monitor will be separate items. You'll need a video cable to connect them. I haven't added speakers because some people like to use headphones instead.

ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Deluxe with 4GB Memory$199.99
ASUS VS248H-P 24-inch Full HD VGA Back-lit LED Monitor$149.00
AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard$13.50
AmazonBasics 3-Button USB Wired Mouse (Black)$7.69
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable - 3 Feet$4.99

Here's what you're buying. Click any of these items to go to the Amazon page for it. It will appear in another browser tab.

Chromebox monitor keyboard mouse HDMI cable

If you are replacing your Windows desktop computer with a Chrome computer because it became virus or malware-infected, your monitor, keyboard, and mouse are probably still OK. You only need to buy the Chromebox for $199.99. Make sure the monitor and the Chromebox share compatible video. The Chromebox model shown here supports HDMI and Displayport video. You can buy cables that connect the computer's Displayport to DVI and VGA monitors.

Since the Chromebox supports both HDMI and Displayport, you can have two monitors connected.

Scenario 4: Chromebase

In this scenario, you want to buy a complete Chrome desktop computer but you want to minimize the space taken up by the computer and reduce cable clutter. With a Chromebase instead of a Chromebox, the computer is built-in to the monitor. This takes up less space and eliminates the video cable. There are no speakers here as well.

Acer DQ.Z0EAA.001;CA24I-CN Chromebase 24 Celeron 4GB RAM-16GB SSD-23.8"$453.99
AmazonBasics Wired Keyboard$13.50
AmazonBasics 3-Button USB Wired Mouse (Black)$7.69

Here's what you're buying. Click any of these items to go to the Amazon page for it. It will appear in another browser tab.

Chromebase keyboard mouse

A classic problem with the Chromebase and any other computer that's built-in to a monitor is that you can't replace one without replacing the other. For example, if the monitor goes bad, your computer is useless unless you can connect another monitor. Your computer will forever be entombed within a dead monitor.

an alternative is to mount a Chromebox to the back of a monitor as shown in the photo below.

Chromebox VESA-mounted to monitor

Scenario 5: Chromebit

You have a large-screen HD television set that's already connected to the Internet in your den. You can watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube movies and videos now. However, there may be things that a computer can do that the TV set doesn't support. The solution is to connect a computer to the TV set but you may not have room for a typical computer. The solution is to add a tiny computer that's just a little bigger than a flash drive.

This assumes that your TV set has an available HDMI (video and sound) port.

You're going to use a Chromebit that will hide behind the TV. You'll use a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad on your snack tray.

ASUS CHROMEBIT CS10 Stick-Desktop PC$82.99
Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 Plus with Built-In Touchpad$29.99

Here's what you're buying. Click any of these items to go to the Amazon page for it. It will appear in another browser tab.

Chromebit Keyboard/trackpad

The Logitech wireless keyboard and trackpad requires that a USB receiver (included) plugs-in to the only USB connector on the Chromebit. A similar Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad (that doesn't require a USB receiver) costs $78.99. Since that's way more expensive and its internal battery needs recharging far more often, I didn't include it but it would free up the Chromebit's USB port.

A 4-port USB hub would allow you to use the less expensive keyboard/trackpad and still have 3 USB ports available. Here's an inexpensive ($16.99) 4-port USB 3.0 hub that you can use:

4-port USB hub

Wireless vs. Bluetooth devices

There's no problem substituting a wireless keyboard and mouse in these scenarios. You have a choice of two types.

  1. Bluetooth
  2. Wireless with nano receiver

Some Bluetooth keyboards and mice don't work well with a Chrome computer. For example, I purchased a Microsoft Bluetooth mouse that would work initially but would "turn off" after an idle period. When you tried to use the mouse afterwards, the computer could not see the mouse. You had to go into settings and set it up again. Fortunately, there are Bluetooth mice that work but it's best to stick with the ones shown below.

A wireless mouse with a nano receiver requires that you plug the receiver in to a USB port on the Chrome computer. If you don't have a spare USB port, you'll have to buy a USB hub.

AmazonBasics wireless mouse Logitech Bluetooth mouse Logitech wireless mouse with nano receiver

Copyright © 2016,2017,2018 by Ed Sawicki